Handmade and Heartfelt

I love this time of year.  Whether it’s spent watching snow fall with my kinfolk, or roaming through sagebrush with my hubby and hounds, Christmas is always a special time for me.  It doesn’t seem to matter where I am or who I’m with, as long as I can give a gift, I am happy as can be.

I am a natural-born gifter, it’s inherent.  But don’t get me wrong.  I am not a shopper.  If you have a list of store-bought wishes and I am your gifter…forget about it, you’re not gettin’ anything on that list!  I am not ashamed to admit that I am that girl who gives handmade items as gifts for any and all occasions, whether you want it or not.  One of my favorite things in the whole world is creating something special with my own two hands and giving it to someone else.

It is selfish, I know, but I can’t help it.  I think perhaps it stems from my childhood when we would draw names for secret gifting amongst the siblings.  We would handcraft something special (like an Apple Man with toothpick arms and raisin eyes) and stealthily stash it somewhere for our secret giftee to discover.  The recipient of my Apple Man may not have been all that delighted, but it filled my little heart with joy.  For me, that was always part of the magic of Christmas.

My grown-up self still harbors that love of handmade trinkets, crafted with thought and given with delight.  And so, I continue this tradition of selfish gifting by creating for others from things that I love…like food, for example. Food makes great gifts.  Everyone needs to eat, everyone loves a treat and what a perfect way to share your love of healthy living with others.

I love the idea of mulled wine for Christmas.  Never tried it, but I’d like to.  Mulled apple cider, on the other hand…Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a pot of spiced cider simmering on the stove.  With a load of organic oranges left from the weekly produce box and some store-bought spices, I put together some little packets of homemade mulling spices to gift to friends and coworkers.  These pretty, aromatic little bundles were well received, made with love and easy as could be.  Present these pretty little packets alone or pair them with a bottle of wine, a fun new mug or a jar of freshly juiced organic apples.

Or how about a healthy flavored popcorn kit with your favorite homemade popcorn seasonings?  Perfect for movie-lovers and stargazers.  I made up some Gingerbread, Cinnamon-Sugar and Cheesy Garlic seasonings and made a few little gift baskets with bags of organic popping corn and cute little bowls.  (Clearly Cheesy Garlic never actually made it to the gift basket, but that’s the danger in gifting things you love…you tend to get attached!).

Sometimes the simplest things make the most beautiful gifts.  A lovely bouquet of fresh, fragrant herbs tied up in a bow.  A jar of candied nuts or homemade granola (How about gingerbread or pumpkin spice?).  Even a bottle of your favorite homemade salad dressing makes a most delicious and thoughtful gift.

And look beyond the edible.  Dried summer lavender makes amazingly fragrant and luxurious bath salts for Mom.  Even the kiddos love a handmade foodie gift in felt form.  Stitch up a few strawberries or a stack of pancakes and you’ll find yourself the most favored Auntie.  And don’t forget the Christmas newborns.  Even they will love a little warm fuzzy, carefully sticthed with love :)

So, whether you are a crafter, a sewer, a photo taker, a brewer, a baker or candlestick-maker…infuse your gifts with love, give of your passions and you may suddenly find your holiday gifting a selfishly satisfying experience.

From my heart and hands, to yours.  Happy Holidays.

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